Metro Weekly

Leslie Jordan named grand marshal of Capital Pride Parade

Parade theme of "Make Magic Happen" refers to LGBT community's triumphs over adversity

Leslie Jordan (Photo: TheLeslieJordan.com)

Leslie Jordan (Photo: TheLeslieJordan.com)

You may remember him as the diminutive, flamboyant Southerner Beverly Leslie, who frequently locked horns with Karen Walker, on Will & Grace. But now, Emmy Award winner, playwright and activist Leslie Jordan is bringing a bit of Southern charm to Capital Pride.

The Capital Pride Alliance, the organization that plans and carries out the District’s yearly Pride celebration, has announced Jordan will serve as grand marshal for the 2016 Capital Pride Parade, which is presented by Marriott Rewards, on Saturday, June 11. The parade, which attracts about 150,000 spectators, traverses a 1.5-mile course through the Dupont and Logan Circle neighborhoods and, this year, will include more than 180 marching contingents. This year’s theme is “Make Magic Happen.”

As part of his duties, Jordan will also attend Capital Pride’s “Crack of Noon” Pride Brunch earlier that day. Jordan will also perform at Studio Theater on Friday, June 10, and will appear at Team DC’s Night OUT at the Nationals on Tuesday, June 14.

“We are thrilled and honored to have Leslie Jordan serve as one of this year’s Parade Grand Marshals,” Ryan Bos, the executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, said in a statement. “His tremendous talent as both a writer and actor is equaled only by his energy, commitment, and ability to make people laugh.”

Besides his acting career, including his best-known roles in Will & Grace, Sordid Lives, The Help and American Horror Story, Jordan has a history of working with the LGBT community in the Southern California, volunteering for both a regional food delivery program and AIDS Project Los Angeles.

“I’ve seen a great deal of pain, and I’ve seen a great deal of progress,” Jordan said, reflecting on his volunteer work with AIDS Project Los Angeles during the early days of the AIDS epidemic. “The desire to celebrate is inherent, and for me to be a Grand Marshal in the nation’s capital for Pride moves me greatly.”

“This year’s theme, ‘Make Magic Happen,’ speaks to the power we have as a community to effect change that strengthens the LGBTA movement locally, regionally, and nationally,” said Bernie Delia, president of the Capital Pride Alliance Board. “The desire to be a part of this change is a spark that inspires us to avidly pursue equality at every level and work to preserve the victories that we have secured.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com